They were a year into their first leadership role and the feedback was You do not careHow could that be – because I do! was the defense.  The proof to the contrary was two valuable people leaving the organization and the final expert doing everything they could to help the leader fail.

A universal truth of most people that write about competencies or personality profiles is the simple fact that if we have a strength (example:  getting work done) and if that strength is overused, it becomes a weakness (example:  so task focused that people do not care).  This is and should be one of the number one focuses of developing leaders, and if you look at a leadership program that is laced with classroom time and lite on self awareness/feedback – run.

If you need a second opinion and are not afraid of a 200+ page business book, read Flip Side by Flip Flippen. The Flip Side: Break Free of the Behaviors That Hold You Back

If you are a coach, and you want this conversation in the voice of a coach – read What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

If I had you at hello with this conversation and you want to jump in and try to avoid the mistake again, here is a simple way to start that conversation and get to an action plan:

  1. What are the reasons you got this leadership role? (list as many as you would like, pick the top 3)  *as their leader, feel free to correct their list after they have created it.
  2. How are these reasons (actually they are strengths) going to help you in this leadership role?
  3. How are these same reasons going to get in the way of your success?  What actions do you need to take to be successful and how can I best support you in this transition? (fyi . . if they don’t ask for help, so at a minimum meet with them weekly for the first 3 months)

The other solution is to speed past this conversation, let the situation play itself out, and try and fix it later.

fyi – Michael Watkins found that 40% of outside leaders hired into an organization fail in the first 18 months.  Brad Smart contends that a bad leadership hire takes 18 months to fire and the cost is 14.6x their base compensation.

Hmmm . . . .

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